A Stunning Frozen Mountain Lake

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share a beautiful destination located in the midst of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks! Avalanche Lake is a serene mountain lake nestled in-between Avalanche Mountain and Mount Colden. After hiking in the Adirondacks for over two years I figured it was time to pay this lake a visit. I happened to visit the lake when it was completely frozen and surrounded by snow. This enabled me to walk out into the middle of the lake and enjoy the scenery from a different perspective, an opportunity not presented to most individuals.

Summary of Avalanche Lake Hike

  • Difficulty: Moderate/Strenuous
  • Length: 5 miles to the lake, 10 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 2,885′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours. In the snow it took around 3 hours to reach the lake. It took less time to get back to the trailhead. Could go faster or slower depending on your pace.
  • Elevation Gain: Approximately 1,335′ according to AllTrails 
  • Photo Opportunities: As I have mentioned in prior posts, Marcy Dam is a great spot to set up to take some photos. Obviously the next best spot is at Avalanche Lake. Its in-between two mountains which makes for some epic photos!


The trailhead for Tabletop Mountain can be found at the Adirondack Loj. Follow Route 73 towards Lake Placid and Adirondack Loj Road will eventually be on your left. You will reach it well before reaching the ski jumps. Follow the road for about 3 miles and you will have reached the Loj. It costs $12 to park for the day. Don’t forget to sign in at the wooden structure at the trailhead!


I am going to save some time because over half of this trail is written about in my prior posts. The trail to Avalanche Lake will take you to Marcy Dam. If you would like to see pictures of Marcy Dam or read about what is in-between the trailhead and Marcy Dam, check out my posts on either Phelps Mountain or Tabletop Mountain! Those are highlighted links so click those to check them out!

2.2 Miles to Avalanche Lake

Shortly after seeing the sign below and following the trail, there will be a fork. The fork is hard to miss and at the fork you will want to take a right. This will keep you on the trail to Avalanche Lake.

The trail between here and the next trail sign remains a gradual climb. It isn’t too difficult, but it still feels like a workout. It felt like a workout for me at least as I drudged through the snow.

Marcy Dam Outpost

1 Mile to Avalanche Lake

At the 1 mile mark to Avalanche Lake the trail will steepen. It is significantly tougher than the last 4 miles, but it is doable. Just keep pushing hard and it will be over before you know it!

If you are doing this hike in the winter I highly recommend having micro-spikes and snowshoes. You will want the extra traction for when it gets icy. I imagine in the summer this hike is much easier. 

1 mile to Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake!

I want to preface this paragraph by stating that Avalanche Lake is absolutely jaw-dropping. The way it sits in-between Avalanche Mountain and Mount Colden and how those mountains seem to dwarf it with their sheer cliffs….it is pretty unbelievable! Despite losing feeling in all of my fingers, I managed to capture some beautiful images that I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

This picture was taken a few minutes before reaching the lake itself. As you can see in the photo below, it was snowing as I hiked in. The little dots all over the sky are tiny snowflakes! 

Snowy Trees Before Avalanche Lake

Below is one of my favorite pictures I took from the hike. The face of this mountain was a  reminder of how small we are. Being out here is always a humbling experience.

Mountain Towering over Avalanche Lake

As you can see, Avalanche Lake was frozen over enough to walk on. People were snowshoeing and cross-country skiing across the lake. It was really cool to see others who don’t mind the cold or crossing frozen lakes.

Avalanche Lake

Snowshoer on Avalanche Lake

Getting Back to the Trailhead

Avalanche Lake is an out-and-back hike so you will just follow the trail that you hiked in on. It should be rather easy getting back to the trailhead. Pay attention to the trail signs along the way.

On your way back, when you reach Marcy Dam, take a right and watch for the sign that points to the left where you will recross the wooden bridge. 


This hike is dog-friendly! I did not see any dogs hiking on the day of this hike, but that’s likely due to how cold it was out. On a warmer day I am sure it would be a great hike for you and your dog!


This hike is fam-friendly, but I don’t know if I would suggest bringing children along in this type of cold. However, that decision is at your discretion. The length of the hike isn’t over-bearing and there aren’t any particularly difficult sections. Like mentioned above, the only time it gets more strenuous is during that last mile before reaching Avalanche Lake. 

Clothes/Gear Worn

  • Timberland Hiking Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas Joggers
  • Underarmour long-sleeve
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic Long Sleeve Pullover
  • LL Bean mid-layer jacket
  • Winter Beanie
  • Balaclava
  • EMS Hiking socks (warmest pair they make)
  • Gloves (with hand warmers in them from Stewarts)
  • Gaiters 
  • Kahtoola microspikes

Gear/Food Brought

  • 2.5L of water
  • Almonds, peanut butter granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra EMS hiking socks
  • LL Bean outer-shell jacket (switched into this on summit)
  • Extra Wind-breaker jacket
  • Bandana
  • Extra shirts, compression shorts, and underarmour
  • Wind/Rain Pants
  • Emergency tents and blankets
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thank you for checking out this post my fellow Road Trip Warriors! I hope you found the hiking information helpful and enjoyed the pictures! If you liked it, smash that like button, subscribe to the blog, and leave a comment on what your favorite winter hike is! As always, I look forward to sharing more!



6 thoughts on “Avalanche Lake: Adirondacks

    1. So sorry for the delay! I never saw the notification for your comment! Yes, you can do multi-day backpack trips in the area. There are plenty of lean-tos to camp out at and there are camps around the Adirondack Loj!


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